I work part-time serving lunch at my children’s school. A year or two ago, a woman who works there approached me about volunteering for a new mobile food pantry that would be starting up once a month in the school parking lot. I knew my kids would love helping out, but I only had one question: can we receive the food, too?
Things had been tight for my family for a long time, but we especially felt the pinch when I left my job to stay home and take care of Brianna, 10, Richard, 8 and Savannah, now 19 months. My husband, Jim, had good work building fences, but it wasn’t enough; we had no extra money and even received a foreclosure notice on our house. So once we started receiving groceries at the pantry each month, which conveniently fell right between our food stamps renewal, we sighed a huge breath of relief. The things we get are just incredible: fresh, colorful produce, plenty of bread for sandwiches, cereals, milk – tons of staples. It lets me use our food stamps for meat that I store away in our freezer and it keeps us stocked with healthy foods. Jim even saw his type 2 diabetes disappear. And to make the experience even sweeter, the kids have a ton of fun helping out, setting up tables and boxes of food and helping other families fill up their baskets.
Between the mobile pantry, which continues throughout the summer, and a school-sponsored free summer lunch program, we’re getting by even without the daily free lunch we count on during the school year. It relieves a ton of stress. And when I’m stress-free, my kids are too. Someday, I hope they’ll all go to college like I never had the opportunity to do. Nothing, really, would make me happier than giving my kids a better life.
We are able to tell this story with our partner, C&S Wholesale Grocers, who sponsored production costs.